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Woman, 78, taken to hospital after gas fireplace mishap on Westside

Homeowner says wife suffered smoke inhalation

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 78-year-old woman was taken to a hospital late Wednesday afternoon after an incident involving a gas fireplace at a home in the Rolling Hills neighborhood of the Westside, according to the homeowner.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said crews responded just before 5 p.m. to heavy smoke showing at a home on Hickory Cove, near Lenox Avenue at Interstate 295.

Though firefighters said they were able to quickly get the blaze under control, there's extensive damage to George and Patricia Robinson's home.

George Robinson told News4Jax that he was turning on the gas-powered fireplace when he experienced a backflash from what he now believes was a leak in the gas pipes.

"I immediately turned the gas off, checked around and didn’t notice anything immediately, but when I came outside, I noticed smoke coming from underneath the eaves of the house," George Robinson said.

His wife called the fire department. Prior to their arrival, a neighbor said that smoke and flames were visible.

"I saw the smoke pouring out," neighbor Connor Alford said. "It just kept coming like it was water, but the house was on fire.”

Before Patricia Robinson could get outside to safety, she suffered minor smoke inhalation and was transported to the hospital for observation. Her husband believes she will be OK and he said they were both fortunate to not suffer any serious injuries. 

"I feel blessed by the Lord," he said.

JFRD concurred on the cause likely being a problem with the gas fireplace, but the cause of the fireplace malfunction is still under investigation. 

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